The Government Will Invest £25bn In Improving Roads, Here’s How…

If someone asked you about the state of the nation’s roads, how would you answer? We doubt it’d be a favourable or positive comment. Fortunately, the government is investing £25 billion in improving them. Here’s where the money will be spent…

‘Major Improvements’ 

Sajid Javid has announced plans to bring about an “infrastructure revolution” for the nation’s road network. Consisting of 14 major improvements, it’ll see £25 billion pounds being invested in upgrading England’s roads. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the plans represented “the biggest increase in infrastructure investment by the government that this country has ever seen”. But what, exactly, will these improvements consist of? The focus is to fundamentally improve the capacity of the already congested network. Both the A66 and the A46 will be transformed into dual carriageways. The M60 Simister Island interchange in Manchester and the A428 between Cambridge and Milton Keynes will also be upgraded. The A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester will also be widened.

Funding for the overhauls will be secured via borrowing and, you guessed it, the taxpayer. The Chancellor said the new roads would be “the arteries of our country”. This is an interesting analogy, given the extent of contemporary congestion. Many of the nation’s motorways, according to experts, have been operating above capacity for years. There’s also a lot of emphasis being placed on the ‘astonishing’ cost of traffic; which, some argue, costs the nation billions every year and individual drivers hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

Delaying The Problem?

Most motorists will no doubt welcome the Chancellor’s plans. After all, who enjoys sitting in traffic? The question has to be asked, however, how appropriate and sustainable such a policy is. Our roads have been upgraded before, often to cater to increased traffic levels. Once upgraded, they quickly realise and exceed capacity all over again; as the population increase and car-ownership becomes ever more extensive. It could be argued that the problem isn’t the capacity of the road network, it’s the the number of people using them and via single vehicles. Whilst there’s talk of a ‘peak car’ phenomenon, by which car use is anticipated to fall, there’s no sign of it becoming felt anytime soon.

No doubt many of us will benefit from the ‘revolution’ the government is promising. But, ten or twenty years down the line, we may be facing the exact same problem all over again. Is this a cycle we wish to perpetuate indefinitely, or is it wiser to invest in alternative and more efficient transport? Only time will tell.

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